Ask An Expert: Maria, I Need To Lose Weight Around My Stomach! Please Help!
Q: I'm a 20 yrs old female, about 5ft 8" I weigh 295 pounds! I think I have a pear shaped body, I have ALOT of fat on my stomach..I need to loose weight/fat now, im so uncomfortable/embarrased and exhausted and just run down. Im starting to have problems with my left knee and my shins. I used to be so active I loved sports and now I have two jobs and just never have any time I dont eat supper until 9pm which is bad I know! The past two years I've put on all the weight I want to say about 80-90 pounds could be more, alot has happened these last two years the stress and depression made me turn to food and now I want to turn away from food and get healthy and look and feel great! I dont know what I should be eating, I know I eat too much salty foods. I was thinking about getting a gym membership and just going on the treamill and step climber but I dont want to loose weight and than my skin hang/sag cause I would never be able to afford surgery to fix it, Do you have any tips on how I should loose weight and what to eat, like a meal plan? People tell me to count calories and than other people tell me to count carbs, I have no idea how to do either. I am lost and need some help? Any advice you can give me?
Thanks so much! -Mel
A: Thanks Mel! It sounds like you've had quite a few changes over the past couple of years, that have affected you in a number of ways, but its great to hear your enthusiam to make changes. As a first step, if you haven't already, talk to someone who can help you with the stress and depression. Not everyone who works 2 jobs gains 90+ pounds, so it sounds like whatever happened to you was the trigger for the weight gain. Working on what led you to turn to food for comfort is essential, otherwise any lifestyle change for weight loss will be difficult.
With regards to food and weight loss, a great place to start is with the basics. Check Health Canada- Canada's Food Guide. It will list how much someone your age should be having, based on the number of servings of each food group. Then find a buddy. someone who will be your support and help keep you focused. This can be a friend, or nutritionist or family member. As long as whoever you choose will hold you accountable, and the two of you are working towards the same goals. Don't team up with someone who sabotages-for example, someone who tries to get you to eat a cookie just because they feel like having one. Also, I regularly post nutrition tips on twitter, which will help keep you on track - @MariaNutrition.
Next, keep it simple and pick 3 things to start with. Here is what I suggest for you:
1. Journal. Start writing down what you eat, when you eat and how you feel. This will give you a place to start and will reveal where your challenges are, such as when and why you are driven to eat certain foods (ie. junk or high fat/calorie or desserts), if you are consistently eating too much before bed, if your breaks between meals are too long, etc.
2. Add vegetables to your dinner. Build the plate around the vegetables-at least 1/2 your dinner plate should be veggies. you said you don't eat until 9:00 pm, which is quite late, especially if you go to sleep soon after. Frozen vegetables are just as good as fresh, and they are convenient for someone who isn't able to go grocery shopping often.
3. Keep meals simple and easy. Buying a cooked roast chicken (remove skin) and eating that over a couple of dinners and lunches is a simple way to eat well, without taking a lot of time. Have it with a salad at dinner, and make lunch with leftover chicken and salad for a sandwich, wrap or pita.
As for the sagging skin, if you lose weight quickly-15-20 pounds a month, you are more likely to have sagging skin! so, take it slower! it will be easier to keep it off that way.
Yours in Health,
Nutrition Expert for The Last 10 Pounds Bootcamp
For more great nutrition tips, follow Maria on Twitter, and check her website at http://www.urbannutrition.com/
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